Recently we paid another visit to Foodlink, and found that these are
busy times. On one hand, the activity is good. It means they're succeeding
in easing unemployment through programs like their Truck Driver Training
but unfortunately, being busy at Foodlink is also a sign that
poverty in California is on the rise
especially this year. John Healy,
President of Foodlink said, "Here, this year, we're hit with really
rapidly increasing fuel costs and heating costs are going to go up. So
we have an issue of that the food budget is being hit from, not only seasonal
demands, but also looking at environmental factors that are outside of
the normal season."
So, like clockwork, you'll find people like Pastor Winston Harris packing
trucks full of donated food for California's poor. His stop: The Church
of God Pentecostal in North Sacramento.
"We, just got some produce from California Emergency Foodlink, we're
bringing it over here to the church, and we distribute it to anywhere
from 9 to 14 thousand people a month, thanks to Foodlink," says Pastor
Harris. And when it comes to thanks, you'll never meet a man who gets
more of them. "Some people just come and want to kiss my hand like
I'm the Godfather or something, you know they're so grateful, they say,
we just wouldn't know how we would have made it without this food, and
that you're God-sent, and we really appreciate it," said Pastor Harris.
But the goodwill of giving extends way past the church and Foodlink's
warehouses. Farmers are continuing to give. "Donate Don't Dump started
in 1992 really looking at the orchards where food was literally dropping
off the trees, and we thought that there's got to be a better way."
Add restaurants and farmer's markets too. "We locally have a program
where we pick up food from restaurants and from farmers markets around
town, and we take it to agencies that serve the poor," added Healy.
But even with this support, there's not enough food going out to meet
demand. But, the people at Foodlink stress, its individual donations that
really make a difference. And you'd be surprised by the power of a single
food barrel. Says Healy, "Here's an example from a food drive
Bank of America branch, workers got together in that branch and put this
together (540 pounds of food), and you can see, this is going to feed
a lot of people."
As the biggest Ag producing state in the country, no Californian should
ever go hungry. So the people at Foodlink, along with community support,
are doing their best to stamp out hunger one person at a time. For more
information Foodlink, or to find out how you can help visit: www.foodlink.org.